Turning your dream home into a reality is one of life’s greatest achievements and deciding to put a pool in is the cherry on top. Here, Annie Slevison chats with Mirco Lepagier, the director of Senator Pools, about the benefits of building a pool as part of a new home development.
IS IT COMMON FOR POOLS TO BE DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED TOGETHER WITH A NEW HOME?
“Yes, the swimming pool and other associated outdoor living spaces are quite often built concurrently with the new home. Having an integrated approach to the new-home building process… means greater consideration can be given to the design of the landscape and other external features of the new residence.
“Better consideration can be given to the location of features such as the swimming pool, spa and cabana in relation to the living spaces of the new home. The connectivity between all of these features and internal spaces will enhance the enjoyment of the entire property.”
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BUILDING THE POOL AT THE SAME TIME AS THE HOME?
“There are more advantages to starting your pool construction before the home build than afterwards. The fundamental benefit of completing all outdoor features with the new home is the ability to integrate and co-ordinate all elements… including the poolside landscaping, alfresco area, cabana, and pergola structures.
“There can also be a significant saving in cost, particularly with the excavation phase of the swimming pool construction. There may be
issues of restricted access when attempting to construct the pool after the new home is built, and the constraint of limited access can significantly increase the cost of excavation.”
WHAT SHOULD READERS BE MINDFUL OF WHEN BUILDING A POOL FOR THEIR NEW HOME?
“Talk to your home and pool builders together to ensure that all the requirements of the home builder are addressed in the design and construction of the pool. Some home builders require a significant buffer zone from the home to the pool in order to maintain their structural warranty. Others will work with the pool builder and allow the pool to be constructed closer to the home, and in some instances integrate the pool with the architecture of the home.”
HOW CAN READERS ENSURE THEY’RE GETTING THE BEST VALUE FOR MONEY WHEN BUILDING A POOL FOR THEIR NEW HOME?
“It is a good idea to approach a couple of reputable pool builders for their advice on design, construction and quotations. Ensure you gain an understanding from your builder of all the likely incidental costs associated with the pool, such as council fees, insurances, long-service levies and the cost to prepare the drawings.”
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE THE READERS WITH LIMITED ACCESS FOR MACHINERY IN THEIR BACKYARD?
“The use of specialist mini excavation equipment can prove to be quite costly. Where possible, explore all opportunities that may be available to utilise standard excavation equipment. This will result in a speedier and more affordable excavation. Seek opportunities for access via neighbouring properties – you can offer to restore any areas that might be disturbed as a result of the traffic associated with the excavation equipment, or offer compensation.
“In instances where you can’t avoid the mini dig… ensure that the contractor is experienced and appropriately
licensed with the required insurances before work begins. Be sure to take the opportunity to walk over the site of the proposed works – including all areas to be trafficked by the excavation equipment – and identify all faults, cracks and blemishes prior to the work commencing. This will cover you should any disputes occur over damages after excavation.”
WHEN SHOULD MATERIAL SELECTIONS BE DECIDED?
“The pool materials should be selected after the home is under construction, [as] this allows for a continuation of the home’s external materials through to the pool area. We suggest that appropriate allowances be incorporated within the pool construction contract to allow for an extension of the alfresco finishes through to the pool concourse, which results in a seamless connection.”
WHAT ARE THE SAFETY REQUIREMENTS?
“When the pool shell is constructed ahead of the new home there are mandatory requirements to ensure the safety of all those working on the pool during the home build. These include safety fencing around the perimeter of the pool, as well as appropriate and required signage.
“Depending on the proximity of the pool to the new home, it may be required that a temporary and structurally certified deck is constructed over the pool shell to facilitate safe construction of the new home. You may also consider installing a temporary pump to drain the pool after rainfall, which will ensure that any water ponding within the shell does not stagnate and attract pests.”
HOW CAN READERS ENSURE THEY ARE CHOOSING THE BEST POOL BUILDER FOR THEIR PROJECT?
“Find a builder that gives you a sense of confidence and comfort – one that will work with you to ensure you achieve the optimal result in the delivery of your pool. Don’t make a decision purely on price. Inevitably the price is secondary when considering the service and quality you expect from your builder.
“The swimming pool and associated landscaping are significant investments, and your choice of builder will be critical in ensuring you achieve the best result. After all, you’ll be spending a lot of time enjoying your new pool.”
HOW LONG DOES IT GENERALLY TAKE TO CONSTRUCT A POOL AND WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO BUILD?
“The time required to construct a new pool, from approval to completion, is typically 3–4 months. It is recommended that thought be given to the swimming pool in the summer, so that you can have the construction completed through the winter. Finishing the pool in winter gives you the time you need to achieve the balance in water chemistry and promote some heat in the pool so it’s ready for the swimming season.
“It’s likely there will be other landscaping and works following the construction of the swimming pool. Having the pool completed through winter allows you to complete additional works around the perimeter of the pool through spring, and be done by summer.”
INTEGRATION AND CO-ORDINATION
A key advantage of completing all outdoor features with your new home is the opportunity to integrate and co-ordinate all the design elements in the property. This way you can continue the aesthetic of the interior through to the exterior pool area and landscaping for a cohesive aesthetic.
If you decide to build your pool after your new home, you may run into issues with restricted access. Standard machinery required for the pool build may not fit within the house compound, and mini equipment can prove costly. Talk to your home builder to organise access areas for the pool excavation machinery – doing so will avoid unexpected costs during construction.
Building your pool as part of a new home development can minimise the impact of disruptions caused by excavation. Sloping blocks and the removal of rocks often require heavy machinery and their continuous access to the pool zone could damage your new home or create noise pollution when you are trying to settle in. For an easier, safer and seamless result, it is best to construct the property as a whole.
POINT OF INTEREST
A pool is as much a visual feature as it is a functional addition to the household. Constructing your outdoor space with a pool and landscaping that complement each other is often less complex when completed at the same as the home.
As you will be spending a lot of time enjoying your pool, consider the build an investment and don’t get hung up on price where it counts. Although sticking to your budget is important, keep in mind that a quality builder is paramount and will achieve a result that increases the value of your home.
To find out more about Senator Pools and how you can build your new home and pool together, visit www.senatorpools.com.au.